Reported Arizona COVID-19 cases rising, still 96% below January peak

Posted at 5:47 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 21:33:30-04

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Health Services added 7,204 new COVID-19 cases and 29 new COVID-19 related deaths to the state’s dashboard. New cases, which are updated every Wednesday have risen every week for the past month. Other COVID-19 metrics remain stable.

When health officials add cases, they can be spread out over the past few weeks. Last week 6,564 people tested positive for COVID-19 which is the highest weekly number of positive cases since the third week of February. Even with the rises, reported COVID-19 cases in Arizona are still almost 96% fewer than the January peak.

Arizona is seeing a rise in the positivity rate of COVID-19 testing as well. SonoraQuest labs, the state’s largest processor of tests still provides daily positivity rates, and 14 days ago they reported a positivity rate of just under 14%. The rate has risen to over 19% according to the last daily report, almost 1 in 5 tests. The actual number of tests reported is still low compared to time periods when COVID-19 was surging. SonoraQuest processed about 10,000 tests. People taking the tests that reported having symptoms tested positive 23% of the time as opposed to 7.2% for non-symptomatic individuals.

Other COVID-19 metrics remain stable. COVID-19 hospitalizations, which are now only reported through the US Department of Health and Human Services, have risen from a 2022 low of 250 inpatients to 366 yesterday. Trend-wise COVID-19 hospitalizations have been stable since early April, fluctuating between those two numbers.

COVID-19 deaths continue to trend down. Death reporting is not considered complete for a month, but weekly COVID-19 deaths have been under 100 per week for six weeks. Hospitalization trends are more important when looking for where COVID-19 deaths may be in the near future so weekly deaths are not expected to increase unless Arizona experiences a significant rise in hospitalizations.